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Minnesota Sea Grant Gains Three

Left to Right: Brent Schleck, Hilarie Sorensen, and Cristina Villella

It might seem ominous but Minnesota Sea Grant is preparing for coastal storms, climate change, and excess stormwater as evidenced by the three new people that have joined the University of Minnesota-based program since October. "We're not being dooms-dayers," said Jesse Schomberg, Minnesota Sea Grant's Program Leader. "We're being opportunistic and pro-active. I'm excited about the capacity we are building to assist Lake Superior communities as they face stormwater issues and different climates. With Brent, Hilarie and Cristina we have a triad that could save communities lots of time, lots of money, and lots of environmental headaches."

Brent Schleck is Minnesota Sea Grant's new Coastal Storms Outreach Coordinator. From his position at the National Weather Service Office in Chanhassen, Minn., Schleck works with Great Lakes coastal communities and user groups to ensure that weather and water forecasts, stormwater impacts and mitigation practices are accessible and applicable. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal Storms Program and its Coastal Services Center are funding this position. Schleck said, "I'm happy to be in here getting inundated ... inundated in a good way ... with information and projects involving ice modeling, lake levels and beach hazards."

Hilarie Sorensen is the new Climate Change Extension Educator. Based out of the program's main office on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth, Sorensen will work with Lake Superior coastal communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin to nurture a greater public understanding of climate change and encourage rational science-based responses to changing conditions. "I'm excited to be a liaison among community members, researchers, and regional and federal decision-makers," said Sorensen. Sorensen's position is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Cristina Villella, MN Green Corps member, joined the Minnesota Sea Grant staff in Duluth for a one-year stint to work on stormwater education in the Duluth-Superior area with the Regional Stormwater Protection Team. Her position was made possible through a partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Americorps Program.

Posted on January 10, 2013

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